High-3 regulations


Q: I would like to retire at the end of 2011. When this time arrives, my annual pay over the previous four years should be as follows: 2008, $90,000; 2009, $93,000; 2010, $80,000; 2011, $106,000. I will have had a stateside job with locality pay in all of those years except 2010, which would have been an overseas federal job without locality pay (a job in South Korea).

I am concerned about the $80,000 that I’ll be earning in 2010, which is substantially less than the other years shown. Will the retirement system use the $80,000 that I will earn in 2010 for computing the average high-3, or will it disregard that and instead use the earnings for 2008, 2009 and 2011, even though these years are not consecutive?

A: High-3s are always based on an employee’s highest three consecutive years of average basic pay, no matter when that occurs in his career.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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